Letters to the Editor - Dec 10

Medieval monk
Dear me, with Tony Abbott it is back to the Dark Ages. I expect his succession makes the few remaining Flat Earthers feel justified in maintaining their belief system. It seems the decades of discussion about Climate Change and then a Carbon Trading Scheme and the months the CTS has been under discussion in the Senate, together with reports from hundreds of independent, reputable scientists and the disasters nature reveals to us every day, is simply insufficient for this medieval monk and his followers to comprehend. As for the cost, what cost to do nothing? Anyway it is us citizens as consumers who will end up paying for whatever tax is placed upon polluters and Abbott and his supporters had no problem in seeing an additional 10% general tax (GST) being implemented when it suited them. But then big business was behind that too.
B Guy

Investment in the future

The ETS is not a ‘tax’. It’s an investment in the future survival of Australia and Australians (don’t be dishonest, Tony). The ETS isn’t perfect but we’ve already waited too long to make a desperately needed start.
This week the Coalition parties, and those of like selfish minds, have placed their scientific ignorance and wallets ahead of the future of Australia.
No wonder politicians are thought of as liars when the sceptic, the new Liberal leader, for political advantage tries to dismissively brand the ETS as ‘tax’. It’s not a tax, it’s a critically needed structural investment in the future.
Abbot’s obstruction makes me mad as hell. He wants an election based on climate change, does he? Me too, and the sooner the better.
Alan Rich
Lennox Head

Reverse racism
I would like to draw your attention to a racist slogan that has been written in the new Goonellabah skate park that has been there for quite some time.
In light of the recent racial outcry of racisms that I have read in a recent front-page article of The Echo against indigenous people I find it astonishing that nothing has been said against the racial attack graffitied on the Goonellabah skating bowl against white people.
Is this because white people in general are more tolerant and not willing to speak up and brush it off so to speak?
I am sure that if this were directed at indigenous people there would be an instant outcry of racial vilification.
Eddy Tyler

Food security, not another rally

It is disappointing to see Kyogle Council embracing yet another rally for the shire when the results of the review paid for by the Council has not been released to the public nor has the Legislated Review even been given a start date. As far as I know there has been no public information about the dollar cost to Kyogle Council for the September event and whether an assessment of any benefits from that cost has been completed.
The money and effort (Council time, Fringe Festival and the forming of a Rally Steering Committee) being directed toward not only the continuing WRC event but now the prospect of another rally in the “off” year seems such a waste of resources that could be used toward protecting this shire, especially our food producers, against the challenges of climate change and peak oil.
Our Mayor has said recently in a Council meeting that he would show leadership and I now call him on that statement to show leadership by allocating the same amount of money and effort (by forming a Climate Change Steering Committee) that was directed towards the September event and future rally events to securing our shire’s future in the face of these challenges.
Wendy Sibley

Thank you
I would like to say some complimentary remarks to the staff at Ward 2 at the Casino Hospital and the emergency department of Lismore Base Hospital.
The treatment I received during my recovery after surgery at Casino was wonderful. The staff were very caring, focussed and tolerant.
Due to unforseen complications there, it was necessary for me to be transported to the emergency section at Lismore Base Hospital.
To have staff that are competent and efficient when a person is in urgent need of attention is extremely comforting.
We are told in the media that our hospitals are under stress. I feel people working in this system are performing exceptionally well under the conditions.
A very BIG thank you to all staff at Lismore Base: the reception ladies and the medical staff, Ann and Kim who treated me. Oh yes, and the lady from Yorkshire!!!
Lindsay Veal

Ballina bypass
The Ballina bypass is to have two interchanges- one on the northern end (Cumbalum Interchange) and one at the southern end (Teven Road Interchange). Ballina Shire residents have been canvassed about the urban design and landscaping options for these interchanges and this is fantastic that there is continuing consultation. The designs themselves are considerate of our unique location and its historical background.
However, there is no southbound entry onto the Pacific Highway for Cumbalum and Cumbalum Heights residents. This area continues to be one of the major growth areas of Ballina and yet these residents will have to use the existing Pacific Highway route through Ballina to access the upgraded Pacific Highway south or to access the Bruxner Highway to Lismore. There is no need for this traffic to continue to be routed through the centre of Ballina on Kerr and River streets.
The RTA no doubt commissioned many reports in the lead up to construction beginning in earnest this year. One of these would have been traffic projections for entry and exit points. Perhaps Ballina Shire Council was remiss in understating its intentions for future residential subdivisions and the rapid development that has taken place in Cumbalum Heights. There is still time to make a change that will have significant ramifications to the quality of life of all Ballina residents. This could be that fix to the proposed link road from North Creek Road to Teven Road.
Arthur Renshaw

Christian monopoly
I would like to question the accuracy of some things Jim Lee of Alstonville said in a recent letter (Echo, Dec 3).
First, that chaplains have the “right to persuade any person to be involved in religion”. But it is more accurate to say that this approach was never the proper work of a chaplain.
Secondly, that “Christianity has no monopoly on ethics and values”. But it is more accurate to say that Christianity does have a monopoly on the values uniquely based on its particular belief-system – as does any religion.
Thirdly, that there should be “secular counsellors” at the Lismore Base Hospital and that this is a “practical enlightened approach”. But it is more accurate to say that such a secularist approach is no more based on a neutral rationality than any religious belief-system. The European Enlightenment valued reason as the way to truthful and practical solutions. However, this value-judgment has been found to be no less a belief-system than the Christianity it claimed to replace. It sounds to me that such secularism is just another form of “indoctrination” some Australians want to impose on others.
Robert Ireland

Land locked
Why is Lismore City Council blocking Lismore’s growth by misrepresenting the amount of land suitable for residential development?
Lismore was once a vibrant city, the hub of the north east. Now we wallow in a dying city with a negative growth rate and vacant shops in the CBD.
The real estate agents complain about the lack of residential land available for building, yet Lismore Council’s planning department boast that there is enough residential zoned land for more than 2000 houses. Every block of this land had been zoned residential more than 14 years ago, some of this land may have been zoned residential 30-40 or more years ago, because once land is zoned residential that’s it; it stays on the books forever, filling Lismore’s allocated land stock as deemed by the State Planning Department. Each time State Planning reviews the area, they look at these 2000 blocks that haven’t moved, our negative growth rate and the fact that only 38 blocks changed hands last year, whilst every other town in the region is booming and opening up land left, right and centre. This paints a very sad picture of Lismore.
I can’t understand why Council can continue to use this land as land stock when all but a small percentage is so constrained by either slope, bushfire requirements, koala habitat or the inability to provide sewerage, water or adequate access. The building of houses would be prohibited by Lismore Council itself because they could not comply with Council’s own guidelines, so isn’t Lismore Council guilty of misrepresenting this land by allowing it to remain zoned residential and using it as residential land stock when it is incapable of being used to build a residence? If any of the land zoned residential was capable of being sold   for housing wouldn’t that have happened during the recent housing boom?
I am asking Lismore Council to explain how they are going to manage this problem.
Donna Purtle

Wong treaty

It is fascinating to hear all the argument about the CPRS having to pass to facilitate a global agreement; it is actually going to undermine any global agreement.
Minister Wong cannot get away with trying to suggest that the targets Australia has on the table are ambitious and credible. They are not ambitious and they are nowhere near what the science requires. It requires a 40 % cut from developed countries and an aim to get on a trajectory of 350 parts per million. What we have got is nowhere near that, so her targets are not ambitious. Nor are they credible. They are not scientifically credible, and they are not economically credible if she is claiming that they are in any way going to transform the Australian economy.
This $7.3 billion “compensation” to the coal-fired power generators is really the Achilles’ heel for the government. They can go out and say, ‘We are taking action on climate change,’ but when asked, ‘How is that?’, they will have to say, ‘We are giving compensation to the coal-fired power industry and keeping them operating out to 2020’. It is $7.3 billion to keep on polluting. So those who are saying, ‘Just pass this and we will improve it,’ should think again. You cannot improve it. You are locking in $7.3 billion for nothing. It is nothing for householders and, worse still, it is locking in failure by guaranteeing that these coal-fired polluters will keep on polluting out until 2020 and beyond. What is the public policy explanation for this appalling handout to multinational corporations in return for nothing, other than the fact that it is a craven cave-in to the coal-fired electricity sector?
Australia is acting as a fall guy for the United States in these negotiations to dump the Kyoto protocol altogether: to not ask for a new commitment period for the Kyoto protocol but instead come up with a new treaty which will have no enforcement and compliance mechanisms at all. Australia by its actions is undermining the very treaty that the world needs to reduce climate change and to slow down the impacts that we are already suffering.
Andy Gough

Arts rate
Rudi Maxwell (Echo, Dec 3) is wrong in her editorial where she states: “The argument that it’s either the gallery or roads is simply wrong.” At the moment funding for the Margaret Olley Money Losing Arts Centre requires a special rate variance above rate pegging.
Such a variance could be used to finance roadworks as was meant to be done with the 1996 or 1998 special rate variance for roads but not both.
It might well be letters to ed support said centre ‘overwhelmingly’ but residents do not. The only valid way to assess opinion is by paying for an independent survey anytime or one on election day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love an arts centre and a 20-metre glass hothouse to grow durian, marang, duku, and mangosteen but we can’t afford either.
I already pay $2000 in rates. Just a two-year special rate to finance the arts centre costs me an additional $280. This is how people get rated out.
Based on this year’s income, $2280 is one sixth of my net taxable income. My rates since 1977 have increased by 6% per annum from $235 to nearly $2000.
Dr Paul Recher

MOAC: Magazine On A Carpark?

As I walk through the carpark I find a magazine, dropped by some passerby. I pick it up to open its pages. This magazine looks good, wow. Expensive price tag – but who cares because I got it for free! I love this magazine for the moments it gives me. For a moment I forget the blasting heat, floating away into some oasis of sensuality, imagined lives and exoticism. Framed, air-conditioned life. I feel culturally enlightened. Only for a moment though, as the low sloping grey isolation of the carpark surges me under again.
Wake up Lismore planners, let’s look more holistically at encouraging a homegrown creative culture than just getting too lost in a box where art is presented. Let’s not talk JUST about a gallery but more importantly about all ways I/we/you could improve such things as the quality of personal and interpersonal experiences, the freeedom and openness of public life, the quantity and quality of useful creative connections, the actuation of our ideals about environmental and social harmony.
Jeremy Stewart
Whian Whian

Sorry state
May I sincerely thank Graham Wilson whom we much admire, Tina Coutts, Barbara Lane, Debra Lowe, Janelle Saffin and all the other people involved in the recent Canberra visit re the “forgotten Australians”.
I’m a 60-year-old and since all this became public I’m now (again) having panic attacks that began with my childhood trauma. I’m writing this at 5am, driven to do so by the old nightmares. I was back at the “Magdalene Sisters” style laundry.
I advise anyone in doubt about the cruelty perpetuated against innocent children to watch The Magdalene Sisters about girls and Song for a Raggy Boy about boys. It’s all criminal.
How possibly could this disgrace, this abomination, this stealing of a normal childhood, simply be “repaired”. What reparation can these people, now damaged adults, be given? And no doubt it’s still going on, behind closed doors, of course. There’ll always be sadists, not necessarily institutionalised as before.
I fell into their clutches thanks to medically prescribed mind altering drugs given to my mother. The drug companies wallowed in profit from the ballooning of prescribed “mothers’ little helpers” in the 1960s. Benzodiazepines, antidepressants and the hideous “psychiatric drugs”.
She was put on mind zonkers which turned a normally lovely woman into a nagging shrew, and my poor dad into an alcoholic. A great childhood in a Sydney slum to remember.
I’ve sent away for my files. A lot is still well hidden in my psyche. But the cruelty, the beatings, the extremely hard menial work for a young girl in a laundry. The abuse, the deprivation will never be forgotten. Our meals were always deliberately cold, I can’t tolerate cold food to this day. It was the deliberate cruelty of sadistic nuns. Diametrically opposed to the Christian ethic of their training, as is seen in most people of faith.
Now that this is out in the open, what’s going to be done about these damaged innocents?
As far as I’m concerned, a “sorry” is pointless and farcical. Forgiveness is out of the question.
We are still in a sick society, that still allows children, people with psychiatric problems, refugees, society’s unwanted, to be locked away and forgotten.
A sorry will do nothing to improve the lives of these forgotten children whom were tortured as are others to this day. If this treatment was done to animals, what a hue and cry it would create!
But the forgotten children, after all the hue and cry, will still, to our dying day, remain the forgotten children, the victims of sadism.
Barbara Elliott


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